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Don’t be caught out by Brussels for a second time

22nd February 2013 Posted by

Waste-watchers in the UK would do well to keep a weather eye on policy developments at the European Commission. 2013 marks the review of targets contained in a Directive that has single-handedly changed the face of waste management in the UK – the Landfill Directive. The UK was unprepared for the Directive when it came into force in 2002, scrambling to create the alternative treatment infrastructure that we needed to handle the waste we were required to divert from landfill. A massive PFI programme combined with innovative policies such as the landfill tax and landfill allowance trading scheme, have put us on the path to meeting our targets.

There is a strong political lobby in Brussels that wants landfilling to be curtailed to the point of approaching ‘zero landfill’ some time over the next 10-15 years.  Were the Landfill Directive diversion targets to be further tightened, or were landfill bans to be introduced as part of a move in this direction, the UK must be better prepared in terms of its strategic planning, to implement these changes. With a challenged economy, Government will in all probability have to call on the private sector to put up the investment needed to effect further change. Having a clear vision and a robust plan in place will be essential to persuade private investors to unlock this capital.

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